Clinton County Wildlife Officer Named Ohio Bowhunters Association Officer of the Year
XENIA – State Wildlife Officer Matthew Roberts, assigned to Clinton County, has been named Wildlife Officer of the Year by the Ohio Bowhunters Association (OBA), according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
“I congratulate State Wildlife Officer Matt Roberts on recently being recognized as OBA’s officer of the year. Matt possesses the qualities it takes to be a wildlife officer,” said Todd Haines, the ODNR Division of Wildlife District Five Manager. “Matt has extensive knowledge in conservation, hunting, fishing and trapping, and a great work ethic and willingness to promote the great Ohio outdoors.”
Officer Roberts started his career with ODNR in 2003 at Rush Run Wildlife Area. Roberts also spent two summers working with Wildlife District Five’s fish management section as a creel clerk on Acton and Rush Run Lakes. In January 2005 Roberts entered the wildlife officer training academy and has served as the state wildlife officer assigned to Clinton County since July of 2005.
Officer Roberts received an associate’s degree from Hocking College in 2001 in fish and wildlife management and a second associate’s degree from Hocking College in 2002 in forest management.
Roberts resides in southern Clinton County with his wife Jamie and children, Jordyn, Tanner and Jillian.
The Ohio Bowhunters Association, Inc. was founded in 1967. Their purpose is to foster, expand, and upgrade the practices of bowhunting in the state of Ohio by creating a spirit of fellowship within the bowhunting community, educating youth in proper archery methods, and working with resource agencies and conservation organizations to conserve wildlife and its habitat. For more information go to http://ohiobowhunters.net/.
More information about becoming a state wildlife officer or the ODNR Division of Wildlife can be found at wildohio.gov.
CUFFS & COLLARS
Field reports from ODNR Division of Wildlife Officers
Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
Throughout the 2015-2016 deer season, State Wildlife Officer Maurice Irish, assigned to Delaware County, received multiple reports of deer carcasses being dumped on City of Columbus property. A total of four bucks were found on the property, all of which had been shot by broadheads and had their antlers removed, but otherwise left intact. Later that year, Officer Irish received another report of a deer carcass discovered near the same location. The deer had also been shot with a broadhead, the antlers had been cut off, and no meat was removed from the animal. This time, extensive surveillance conducted during the year led to a suspect. During the interview, the man admitted to killing the bucks with a crossbow and only keeping the antlers. The antlers and other evidence were seized and he received several citations. After pleading guilty, the man paid $1,400 in fines, restitution and court costs.
State Wildlife Officer Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, received information from the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office that a vehicle had discarded processed deer parts in a ditch near a stream. A partial plate was retrieved from the suspect’s vehicle, but neither the suspect nor the vehicle could be located for several weeks. One day, Officer Eldred was contacted by a deputy who had obtained a valid address for the suspect. Officer Eldred was able to make contact with the suspect at his residence, and further investigation revealed that not only were the deer parts illegally dumped, but neither of the two deer had been properly checked in. Two individuals were found guilty of multiple violations and paid nearly $700 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
In January 2017, during the deer muzzleloader season, State Wildlife Officer Craig Barr, assigned to Allen County, responded to a complaint regarding hunting on a landowner’s property without permission. Officer Barr contacted State Wildlife Officer Brad Buening, assigned to Van Wert County, to meet him in the area. Upon arrival, both officers made contact with the group of four hunters, one of whom had shot a deer and retrieved it from the complainant’s property. The hunter believed he had permission from the owner of the property to retrieve the deer, but further investigation revealed the current property owner had bought the property from the person whom the hunters believed owned it ten years before. During the course of the hunt, the hunter had shot a deer on a neighboring property and he and one other hunter entered the complainant’s woods to retrieve the deer. After presenting the story and evidence to the landowner, she decided to file charges against both hunters who entered her property without permission. Both hunters entered pleas of no contest in the Lima Municipal Court and were ordered to pay $750 in fines and court costs. Additionally, the seven-point buck was forfeited and donated to a local food bank.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
While instructing a hunter education course, State Wildlife Officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, observed a clearly intoxicated individual in a verbal altercation concerning the man’s use of profanity around students in the class. Officer White approached the man who became increasingly agitated and uncooperative. The man fled the building, got in his vehicle, and left the facility. Officer White followed the man and was able to stop the vehicle. He contacted the local police department and held the man until they arrived. The man was arrested and charged with OVI, convicted in the Avon Lake Municipal Court, and sentenced to 30 days in jail. He also paid $677 in fines and costs, and his driving privileges were suspended for 2 years.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
During the 2016 deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Hollie Fluharty, assigned to Scioto County, received information regarding a bobcat being killed by a hunter. The caller stated a nonresident hunter from Maryland had shot the bobcat with a muzzleloader, then had discarded the carcass near the cabin where the suspect was staying. Through the course of the investigation, Officer Fluharty was able to locate the carcass and collect statements from other hunters in the area. The case also involved efforts by Maryland wildlife officers who assisted with interviewing the suspect. After appearing in Portsmouth Municipal Court, the suspect was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay $500 in restitution plus fines and court costs.
State Wildlife Officer Brian Baker, assigned to Belmont County, received complaints about multiple road hunting incidents in Belmont County. One evening, Officer Baker was watching an intersection when a vehicle drove up and slowly illuminated the surrounding fields. Office Baker was able to make contact with the driver of the vehicle near the intersection. Further investigation revealed deer blood and hair in the bed of the truck and information suggesting that a deer had been killed in West Virginia. However, the suspect did not have a valid West Virginia hunting license or deer tag, and did not game check a deer in West Virginia. West Virginia conservation officers are expected to charge the suspect with multiple violations. The suspect could also be charged in Ohio.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
In fall 2016, State Wildlife Officer Matt Roberts, assigned to Clinton County, was patrolling an area in Adams County known for spotlighting activity. Officer Roberts observed a vehicle spotlighting and was able to perform a traffic stop. Upon reaching the vehicle, Officer Roberts discovered a 12-gauge shotgun located between the two individuals in the front of the vehicle and several deer slugs on one of the individuals. The three individuals admitted to spotlighting deer and further admitted to planning on killing a deer that night. All three were issued summonses for spotlighting and the gun and flashlight were seized as evidence. The individuals were each found guilty and received a $300 fine plus court costs and 2 years of probation.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.